Review/discussion about: Shimoneta to Iu Gainen ga Sonzai Shinai Taikutsu na Sekai
Shimoneta to Iu Gainen ga Sonzai Shinai Taikutsu na Sekai (Shimoneta from here on out because that title is ridiculously long) reminded me of a tale. It is a tale from my childhood, back when I was a spry young boy with strict parents.
Their strictness should not be underestimated. Growing up, I was disciplined to never swear. This has carried over into my adult life; I very rarely swear while out in public. (In private, however, all bets are off.) One day, we visited the family cottage. That day, I was there with my cousins and my brother.
Probably due to that rebellious stage of our lives, we decided that enough was enough: We were going to swear. But we were not just going to say a bunch of curse words in the living room. Instead, we decided to take our behavior to the trampoline on the side of the house. The second we got onto the trampoline, our mouths and brains started working. The jumps-to-dirty-words ratio quickly became imbalanced; the pine trees turned into scarlet oaks from all the blushing they were doing.
Our swearing escapade eventually ended. We were never caught, but that feeling of freedom has never been matched since. And considering Shimoneta, I know now that Kajou and the rest of SOX felt exactly the same.
Shimoneta is bonkers mostly due to its unique premise. Japan, over the past few years, put forth regulations that essentially outlawed anything – and they mean anything – lewd. This includes pornography, swearing, and even drawing risqué images.
Through this unique premise, Shimoneta capitalizes on its comedy. The show teaches the citizens of Japan what sex actually is by using a couple of insects. The show saturates itself in swearing, forming sexual innuendos out of every object and situation possible. And the show makes it its mission to include as many boobs, butts, and “bananas” as possible to combat the censoring.
Ironically, the censorship enhances the comedy. Rather than showing genitalia, the anime cleverly uses flooded dams and nearly-exploding champagne bottles as metaphors. It is not vaginal secretions but instead “Love Nectar.” And Saotome does not draw the human anatomy by conventional means (i.e., using her hands and fingers). She draws using a pencil in her mouth.
This satire through censoring begs the question, how bad is censorship? Well, to Shimoneta, censorship is nothing short of horrible. It demonstrates that censoring speech and desires and thoughts is an Orwellian mindset that incites insanity. As the show shows, people wearing used panties like they were an outfit and people going crazy with lust since they do not understand their own feelings are the byproducts of such a messed-up society.
Yet these are the least of anyone’s worries. What is truly worrisome is the loss of control. People should be free to say whatever they want, express themselves however they want, and think about whoever they want. This is what Shimoneta champions. It does so through the guise of a raunchy, sexualized anime, but the message remains the same: Censorship is horrible, and people should be free.
Taking a step back from the theme of the show and looking at the narrative, the structure starts to weaken somewhat. There are predominantly two conflicts: SOX versus Anna’s mother’s new bill and SOX versus White Peak. With both conflicts, an unfortunate feeling of pointlessness occurs. Yes, SOX imparts knowledge on the masses, but stopping the bill and defeating White Peak do not lead to a reduction in censorship. Again, the point of the show is demonstrating how horrible censorship is, so when said censorship continues – despite the efforts of Kajou and the gang – the whole adventure comes off as unfulfilling.
Shimoneta also includes “subplots” revolving around Tanukichi’s father and Kosuri’s father. The word “subplots” was put in quotes because these are not exactly plots but rather small asides. They are never explored outright, leaving the audience to ponder what happened to or what is happening with these separate ideas. Presumably, they were or are fights against censorship, so the anime not exploring these subplots is a misstep of thematic proportions.
Then there is the last episode which is largely unnecessary. The second-to-last episode capped off the season’s troubles handily enough: The main antagonist is defeated, and Kajou is provided with a platform to make a rousing speech. Yet the anime decides to include an episode that, realistically, rehashes much of the same jokes that preceded it. Worse still, the final episode does not serve much of a purpose outside of “more Shimoneta.”
If anything, this episode simply reinforces the notion that the characters’ efforts have, so far, been mostly for naught. Subsequently, the anime ends on an unfortunately sour note.
Shimoneta incorporates its censorship motif into its art. For many scenes, hand gestures, fluids, and other naughty objects are hidden behind pink hearts or round stickers featuring the characters of the show. The anime turns the censorship from unfortunate to comical, demonstrating once again its understanding of the themes and the comedy it has.
The rest of the art is lackluster. The cinematography is uninspiring, the lighting is an afterthought, and visited locations are not too detailed. Actual animation fairs a bit better. Anna going berserk – jumping, running, and fighting – and specific sequences – like Saotome creating an exorbitant amount of drawings or Kajou humping a table or the air – tend to be nicely animated throughout the season. When the anime is not focusing on Anna or those specific sequences, characters see an average amount of limb, facial, and general movement that, if nothing else, keeps the show from feeling flat.
Looking at the character designs, they are interesting to say the least. Goriki is the butt end (pun intended) of a lot of jokes involving Tanukichi and homosexual relations. More specifically, much of the pornography about him includes a “banana.” So, naturally, his design is closely related to that of a gorilla.
Kosuri’s character design is also interesting. She looks innocent and naive, but when she gets excited, her hair stiffens into the shape of a penis. Kajou and Tanukichi have their normal, plain designs, but their SOX outfits – a blanket for Kajou, black lingerie for Tanukichi, and panties for wearing on the head for both – contrast quite nicely. And one would be remiss in not mentioning Anna with her white hair representing her “purity,” her dress which conceals her sexy figure, and the lustful, heart-shaped eyes that indicate her craziness.
Without a doubt, if anyone remembers anything about Shimoneta, it is Anna. Anna is what anime would deem a “yandere,” a character so obsessed with another that she would resort to violence for even a glance of her dearly beloved. Her super-human strength makes it pretty easy for her to get those glances.
Although she does not start off this way. In the beginning, she is characterized as the pretty, professional, and pure girl who leads the student council. After her first kiss, however, she drops the last two characteristics entirely. From that point on, Anna becomes a lecherous fiend, wanting nothing more than for Tanukichi to accept her love.
Anna’s contrast between purity and lechery demonstrates how censorship can mislead someone down an ignorant path. The contrast is also hilarious, once again satirizing the concept of censorship. Luckily, the anime continues to up the ante with her character for each episode. One moment has her trying to “dock” him. The next moment has her using her “Love Nectar” to make cookies, to fill bottles, and to create rainbows. And the moment after that one has her stuffing her face in Tanukichi’s “reward” for her. She remains a fun and purposeful character throughout the season, leaving her mark in more ways than one.
After Anna, the characters see a considerable drop in execution. The next best are arguably Fuwa and Kajou, though this is only because the anime does not stumble in doing more with their characters when compared to the other members of the cast. Fuwa is an inquisitive scientist who is investigating “body melding” and related behavior. She works well as a side character since that is all she is. She shows up occasionally to make a joke, to help the gang, and to impart wisdom.
Kajou is similar to Fuwa in the sense that she acts more like a supporter than being a pivotal character. She is “Blue Snow,” the self-proclaimed “dirty joke” who wants to turn this “boring world where the concept of dirty jokes doesn’t exist” into one that is, well, normal. Interestingly, she can get embarrassed, like when she sees Tanukichi naked with his “seal” out or when they are walking side-by-side in nothing but their undergarments. Kajou was influenced by her father, but, outside of the first episode, this seemingly important detail is never brought up again. Instead, her main role is to inspire Tanukichi to discover what it is that he really wants to do and to be.
Speaking of Tanukichi, he is arguably one of the worst characters in the anime. As the straight man of the group – always getting frustrated at the other characters for acting so immature – he slowly opens up to the possibility that he wants to be someone like Kajou: a person who knows himself or herself completely (which includes being lewd). What is strange, then, is that he continually gets annoyed and fed up with Kajou’s remarks and the rest of SOX’s behavior despite liking their mentality. Worse still is how his past centered on his father, who was similar to Kajou both in her actions and her assuredness of self, hardly influences his life.
Kosuri is best described as a lesser Tanukichi. She is sweet yet conniving, looking to always cause mayhem. She also has daddy issues that go largely unexplored – this only serves to harm her character. However, unlike Tanukichi, she is influenced by her father’s actions in the sense that she feels that his rebellion is not enough.
This is why she joins SOX, believing that they are more progressive in their thinking. Near the end of the season, she betrays SOX to help White Peak (believing that he is even more progressive), but she soon realizes she was mistaken. “Soon” meaning “less than an episode” because she defects back to SOX without much fuss, serving to make her betrayal just a convenient move to prolong the plot.
As for the rest of the characters, Saotome initially has a slump in her painting abilities that she is combating, but after joining SOX, she does little else besides provide spurts of comedy. Goriki is essentially a non-character except during the bus predicament. And Tsukimigusa, despite having an interesting and relevant conflict revolving around identity, does not have his character expounded on. Even the main villains, Sophia (Anna’s mother) and White Peak, are weak: They are either barely around or hardly impacting, turning them into unworthy antagonists.
It also does not help that themes connecting the cast together are nearly nonexistent. There are remnants of these themes, such as the idea of finding one’s identity (which could be interpreted as discovering one’s self sexually) and the coincidental, influential fathers (for Kajou, Tanukichi, and Kosuri, as well as arguably Anna, given her father’s position). But, again, these themes do not have depth because the anime almost never set aside the necessary time to delve into them.
Collectively, the cast of Shimoneta is sadly subpar in their overall execution.
Shimoneta capitalizes on its censorship once more through its sound effects. Rather than having Kajou (she is the main perpetrator) speak aloud dirty words in a regular fashion, the anime bleeps out said words with squishy noises, bells, and vibrations. Per usual, this satirical censorship boosts the execution of the show further.
Looking at the original soundtrack, the best tracks happen to be the character-oriented ones for Anna and Fuwa. The angelic singer that accompanies Anna’s advances makes them that much more comical. The ominous track that follows Anna during her malicious moments ups the suspense. And Fuwa’s foreign track coincides with her need to understand that which is foreign to her. The other tracks consist of sad trumpets and victorious guitars that, while not as iconic or as impressive as Anna’s and Fuwa’s tracks, do their job of fitting the anime well-enough.
As for the all-important opening and ending tracks, the OP for Shimoneta is silly because of how serious it tries to be. The orchestral organization, the various vocalists, and the triumphant tone contrast amazingly with the visuals, the context, and the lyrics. (“We’ll reach the climax stylishly!” and “Unsheathe and thrust with your mighty Sexcalibur!” to recite a few.) Combined with its catchiness, the OP manages to be a relatively strong track.
The ED is even stronger than the OP. It is an extremely catchy track, one filled with a funky beat and dancing characters. The track itself is fun, but the lyrics – with words hiding in words and the play-on-words with “cunning linguist” – are once again the highlight. The chanting of “S-O-X” further adds to the comedic value of the track. Overall, the ED is a hilarious track that perfectly fits within the confines of Shimoneta.
Finally, voice acting performances within the anime are grand in quality. Miu Matsuki (may she rest in peace) as Anna was wonderful, giving the purely psycho girl a refined and sexy voice that fit the character to a tee. Satomi Arai as Otome was likewise wonderful due to the rough voice she used for the small doujinshi artist. And Saori Gotou as Fuwa continues the wonderfulness with a tired, quiet way of speaking.
I am a fan of swearing and sex for comedic purposes (probably due to my aforementioned upbringing). Meaning, when this anime provided both as a single package, I was more than pleased. Every innuendo was funny, and each sexually-charged escapade put a smile on my face.
But I had the most fun whenever Anna was present; she was easily the best part of the anime for me. She was cute and sexy and attractive, but she was also incredibly hilarious in her yandere ways. Her getting jealous of other girls that were near Tanukichi, her chasing after Tanukichi with a pair of metal clamps, and her reacting so powerfully to anything Tanukichi said or did always made me laugh.
The other characters were funny, too. Kajou was often the one spouting lewdness, so she was always welcome to have on screen. Fuwa, while usually resorting to the same tactic of “approach a person near the crotch region while asking a question using euphemisms,” was comedic in her own right. And Kosuri had her moments, too, like when she entered her innocent mode or when she was slamming her head on a milk carton that was in Tanukichi’s lap to make it look as if she were ejaculating from her (penis) hair.
Even the running gag with Binkan-chan was funny. She was the extra character with the two, small twin-tails in her hair. She was usually a bystander, reacting to SOX’s shenanigans in an adorable manner which consequently made me chuckle a lot.
My main issue entertainment-wise is the last quarter or so of Shimoneta. I was not a fan of White Peak; I thought he was too weird. And since the anime focused more on him and drama and action, that meant less time spent on Anna and the other characters and the comedy. So while the characters and the gags provided a lot fun throughout the season, the anime was not able to remain completely entertaining from start to finish.
Shimoneta to Iu Gainen ga Sonzai Shinai Taikutsu na Sekai does not have a memorable cast or a powerful plot or a beautiful artistic direction. What this anime does have is a wacky setting, strong music, and lots of entertainment. At the minimum, this anime, those kids on the trampoline, and most everyone else can agree on an identical idea: censorship blows.
Story: Fine, unique premise, strong comedy, and an interesting theme on censorship, but the narrative’s pointlessness, the unexplored subplots, and the unnecessary final episode cannot be ignored
Animation: Fine, censorship is smartly used for comedy, below average artistic direction, and about average actual animation, as well as good character designs
Characters: Bad, besides Anna, Fuwa, and Kajou, the cast is either handled poorly or used irregularly, and the weak themes on identity and father figures further accentuate the subpar cast
Sound: Great, censorship noises further add to the comedy, good OP, great ED, nice OST, above average VA performances
Enjoyment: Good, Anna is amazing, and the other characters are funny, too, but White Peak was lame, and more of him meant less of everything else
Final Score: 6/10
Thanks for taking the time to read my review. If you want, take part in the discussion below! :3